Under The Radar is a weekly look at games that have ended up hidden through lack of coverage, but shouldn’t have. If you have a game that you think should be featured here, leave it in the comments and I’ll be sure to check it out.
Since they have the appearance of simpleness, indie games give the impression that they can be polished off in couple of days, game jam style. The truth is that since the development teams are often so small, tiny projects can take up lots of time. In the case of the recently released Teletrooper, it took eight years.
Filmmaker Adam Butcher and artist Ben Claxton make up Chemical X Games, the team behind Teletrooper. The team has also worked on other games jointly and independently, so it’s no wonder the game has taken so long to finish. Their first posts on the game’s development can still be seen on the Angelfire site that goes back to September of 2004.
Nostalgia for old website hubs aside, the game is inspired by Starfox 64 and Rogue Squadron. The former’s influence can be instantly recognized in the ship’s design that recalls an Arwing. The main difference between those games and Teletrooper is that the latter is an overhead 2D game with wonderful pixel sprite art. Most importantly, the game is brutally hard. Part of this is due to just the way one controls the game. Having begun eight years ago before the Microsoft gamepad became a sort of standard amongst PC developers, the game is controlled through the keyboard. The ship is incredibly responsive and quick, which makes learning the controls a tough but rewarding process.
The game plays very much like a static shoot-em-up. The ship flies around the screen taking down enemies with it forward and backward facing guns. Upgrades with limited ammunition can be picked up off the field as can health. The real tension of the game comes from maneuvering though- as the tight controls and tighter spaces punish those who aren’t paying attention to where they’re going.
While it may not be the most revolutionary game, Chemical X’s labor of love is a tiny masterpiece in its own way. From the wonderful art, catchy tunes, and precise gameplay, it’s a game that shows the many year of effort that were put into it.
You can pick up Teletrooper for your PC for free from the game’s site.